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Recognizing quality

Memorial's PsyD program receives Canada's highest accreditation level

Teaching and Learning

By Kelly Foss

Memorial University’s doctor of psychology (PsyD) program has been awarded the highest level of accreditation in Canada.

This is the first time a PsyD program outside of Quebec has received accreditation from the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) and the first PsyD program the organization has recognized at a university that did not already have a CPA-accredited PhD program in clinical psychology.

Clinical psychologists
The department’s six clinical psychologists include Drs. Nick Harris, Kellie Hadden, Julie Gosslin, Josh Rash and Sheila Garland. Missing from photo is Dr. Jacqueline Carter-Major.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

The five-year term is retroactive to the application submission in May 2017.

Immense investment

“This is excellent news and something we’ve been working on for a long time,” said Dr. Julie Gosselin, program director.

“It’s been an immense investment for the university and a real group effort from the faculty members, thesis and community supervisors and students. It says a lot about the quality of the program we’ve been able to put forth.”

The program has been found by the CPA to be in compliance with 10 comprehensive standards that relate to the quality of infrastructure and training the program offers, as well as its ability to graduate students in a timely manner and for them to be able to successfully register as psychologists in a Canadian province.

To be accreditable, a program must be a part of a nationally or provincially chartered university and be fully housed in and managed by a psychology department. The CPA also requires a minimum number of core clinical faculty with doctoral degrees in clinical psychology.

Dynamic faculty

“The most recent hirings in our department have all been dynamic people with very strong research skills, and who are highly productive and successful with external funding,” said Dr. Gosselin.

“They can not only train students, but are also able to give them both strong clinical research and clinical training experience – something I would say is not common in universities outside of large urban centres.”

The department’s six clinical psychologists include Drs. Kellie Hadden, Jacqueline Carter-Major, Julie Gosselin, Sheila Garland, Nick Harris and Josh Rash.

“They were very impressed with Memorial and said this was one of the better site visits they had been a part of.” — Dr. Julie Gosselin

Their practice and research interests include child, adult and family psychology with particular interests in eating disorders, additions and gambling, psychotic disorders, sleep disorders, psychosocial adjustment to family transitions and health psychology.

When the CPA came to Memorial for a site visit, Dr. Gosselin says one of the things they looked for was not just how many individuals were associated with the program, but the quality of their faculty and what they contribute.

“They were very impressed with Memorial and said this was one of the better site visits they had been a part of,” said Dr. Gosselin.

High demand

The program’s facilitators can also take pride in a 100 per cent employment rate for graduates, who are working in almost every province in the country.

Dr. Gosselin says that many of them even secured employment before they graduated. Some graduates are working in private practice, hospitals and student counselling centres and are faculty members at their respective institutions, as well.

Dr. Julie Gosselin
Dr. Julie Gosselin, program director for Memorial’s doctor of psychology program.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

Giving back

Dr. Gosselin says the team is now working towards opening an offsite clinic for the public as a full-fledged practicum site to help meet the demands for mental health services in the province.

“This clinic is greatly needed and because of the different expertise we have within our faculty, we can not only see regular clients and provide child and family services, but also set up group treatment for specific disorders and long-term counselling groups for people with anxiety and depression,” she said.

They’re also hoping to slowly grow the program beyond its current maximum cohort size of six students a year and offer a greater variety of placements to students. Dr. Gosselin expects their success with accreditation will see application numbers increase significantly.

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